Telecoms industry announces COVID-19 consumer response initiative
Telecommunications Industry Ireland, the Ibec group for the sector, today announced a series of significant consumer commitments made by the industry in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis.
Commenting, Torlach Denihan, Director of Telecommunications Industry Ireland, said: "At what is a critical period for Ireland and a very challenging time for many across the country, the telecommunications industry is working very hard to ensure that people remain connected to their loved ones and to essential services while being able to work and study from home. Consumers who are in financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 and have difficulty paying their bills, including those who are cocooning, will be assisted by their service provider to agree an affordable solution for their voice and data services.
In response to this national emergency, the industry has made the following commitments to further support consumers in the context of COVID-19:
1. Any fixed broadband customers who do not have unlimited usage already as standard will be given the opportunity, if they require, to upgrade their package (which may be on a temporary basis), with their current service provider.
2. Any customer who does not have fixed broadband and who relies solely on mobile access to the Internet will have the opportunity to avail of an affordable unlimited mobile data access package from their service provider.
3. Fair usage policies will not be automatically applied to unlimited fixed and mobile data packages.
4. Service providers may implement appropriate permitted traffic management measures to avoid network congestion.
5. Access to healthcare and educational resource websites identified by the Government will be zero-rated for all customers where technically feasible.
6. So that customers can remain connected during the crisis, service providers will engage with any customer that contacts them who is in financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 and has difficulty paying their bills to agree the best way of keeping them connected to voice and data.
7. Service Providers will work with ComReg in the event of complaints raised to ComReg by consumers who consider they are not being treated in accordance with these commitments.
In conclusion, these commitments will be implemented by operators as soon as practicable. Each service provider will provide details and implementation updates on their own website. The commitments will remain available to consumers until 30 June 2020 and will be reviewed in advance of that date if needed. As of today these commitments have been made by BT Ireland, eir, Pure Telecom, Sky Ireland, Tesco Mobile Ireland, Three Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone.